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Supernatural Review: Major Secrets and Decisions

by at . Comments

I have to admit I was a bit hesitant about "Torn and Frayed."

I'm all for Supernatural going through its character arcs and seeing where they will take Sam and Dean, but I was worried we were going to spend a whole episode with the brothers simply bickering with the possible hopes of working together next Wednesday.

Except I was pleasantly surprised by what culminated in the hour.

Sam and Dean Scene

The show didn't start off with a real bang, and felt like it followed the usual path of the characters on their particular hunt (Sam for Amelia and Dean and Castiel for Alfie).

Nothing wrong with the course of action, but we got Sam acting moody after getting laid and Dean trying to act like he didn't need his brother. The tension between the two felt similar to their other arguments they've had over the years.

But Castiel really got things going by telling the brothers to "stow their crap" and focus on the major task at hand. Rescuing the angel, Alfie, was far more important than Dean being mad at Sam or Sam being mad at Dean. Glad someone was able to say it to them.

And yet it wasn't simply about rescuing the angel, but the situational problems that would arise if they kept letting Crowley take his time with torture.

Which is where the story aspect of Supernatural Season 8 pulled me back in, as Crowley began to tinker with Alfie's "program," discovering that there is an angel tablet out there somewhere.

A shocker for sure, but logical in every aspect. If something can lock all the demons away, it only makes sense that something can lock all of the angels away.

Of course watching Sam and Dean kick major ass as a team was fantastic. The brothers were throwing punches, kicks, knife stabs, to eliminate those pesky demons. These are the Winchester brothers I want to see!

Yet, defeating Crowley and whatever his new nefarious plans were seemed like the obvious major problem. But things aren't so black and white anymore. It isn't just angels vs. demons.

Really, that's the beauty of this transformation in story. While I'm scratching my head at the prospect of an angel tablet, the conniving and enigmatic Naomi busts in and starts commanding Castiel and tossing out logic that contradicts Alfie. Who to believe?

I've got a hard time believing the angel (is she even one?) whose name is "I moan" spelled backwards, especially when Castiel is having flashbacks of having needles shoved into him by her. And she's shouting for Castiel to kill Alfie to protect Heaven while Alfie is claiming that "they" are being controlled.

What does that even mean? Is Naomi controlling the angels? Is someone else? What is going on? Even Sam and Dean don't know what to make of Castiel's actions.

Things in Heaven are getting mighty suspicious and my fascination and curiosity for the mysterious story has been pulled right back in. I can't wait to see where this all goes.

At the same time, allowing the brothers final talk to involve major decisions was huge for this episode.

Yes, we always usually get a Sam and Dean heart to heart, but this one really seemed to wipe the slate clean and say, "Here we go. Let's get back on track." Dean was willing to let Sam go back to Amelia because he no longer wanted to fight, yet he acknowledged that Sam couldn't have his feet in both worlds. It just wouldn't work out.

At the same time, Sam brought up Benny (who it looks to be headed down a bad path) and the problems that arise from befriending a vampire.

It was nice to hear them both listen to each other, but it was the major letting go of their past, that time they spent away from each other, and coming back as a team that worked wonders.

Sam had to let Amelia go, even though he was the one that would have had the best chance of living that normal life. And Dean let Benny go, knowing that their friendship would compromise the one he had with his brother.

Those were huge game-changing decisions for their road ahead. Now, whether they stick with it is another question, but it looks like Sam and Dean have buckled down and are looking to face the big challenges together again.

Major kudos to them both, as their choices were certainly not easy ones to make. They might not be taking the path with smiling faces, but they're continuing that never-ending task of saving the world.

Even if the start of the episode was a little slow and at first felt predictable, the eventual transition for both character and story was a nice way to start Supernatural off in 2013. There's so much to ponder and question in regards to the angel conspiracy and I'm eager to see Sam and Dean reinvigorate that great brotherly chemistry. It looks like things are just heating up.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (126 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Great episode. Really starting to wonder about Naomi. She obviously had some kind of mind control device put in Castiel's brain. And is that stark, featureless room she meets Castiel in really in Heaven,,,or somewhere else? And if she was so desperate to have Samandiriel freed from Crowley,,,and then killed, why didn't she have other Angels do it,,,or do it herself? Perhaps she can't leave that room?

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Maybe the King doesn't trust the Levis anymore. To be honest, I don't blame him.
So, an average episode focusing on character with some revelations to set us up for the new year. It was okay, not terrible but not all that brilliant either. Still, I remain optimistic. Welcome back Supernatural.

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could properly explore these issues. In short, the idea behind the Benny and Amelia storylines as wedges between the two could be good if done properly. They'd been doing a good job so far, but it looks like this episode has retconed it. Maybe it was the poor fan reaction to Amelia... I dunno.
Aside from that, we had the much welcomed return of Castiel. There were several revelations here: Castiel is being controlled by Naoimi and there is an Angel tablet which Crowley will try to find. Exciting stuff... even if we did kind of know that anyway. And though Crowley is always fun, I wasn't as overjoyed to see him here as I usually am. Maybe it's because the character stuff aside we've seen this type of episode millions of times before. And again, sigh, they neuter Castiel to stop him from dropping a bomb on the entire place. Seriously? Could I be shot for hoping Crowley had posted some Leviathans to guard Samandriel? He should know by now that Cas, Sam and Dean would show up eventually. Maybe the King doesn't trust the Levis anymore. To be honest, I don't blame him.
So, an average episode focusing on character with some revelations to set us up for the new year. It was okay, not terrible but not all that brilliant either. Still, I remain optimistic. Welcome back Supernatural.

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So why bother with the fake suspense? I'm not entirely sure where the Amelia storyline can now go, unless they put her in mortal peril or something. Hey, if it's been wrapped up, at least we can draw a line under this and move on.
As far as Dean is concerned, I feel sorry for Benny. I know he's cut him off for Sam, but it's possibly the worst thing Dean could have done! He's banged on time and time again about how much Benny has done for him, yet abandons him when he needs him the most. He's fed on human blood! Dean knows what that means for a vampire. I suppose now we wait for the episode where we have to suffer Sam's "I was right" speech as Benny succumbs and becomes an issue they have to deal with. Not very nice, Dean. Again he chooses his brother and usually I'd be all for that, except in all honesty Sam's acted like a complete jerk as far as Dean's concerned, and if the writers were not so obsessed with keeping the brothers together so we can have a couple of weeks of filler, we could properly explore these issues. In short, the idea behind the Benny and Amelia storylines as wedges between the two could be good if done properly. They'd been doing a good job so far, but it looks like this episode has retconed it. Maybe it was the poor fan reaction to Amelia... I dunno.
Aside from that, we had the much welcomed return of Castiel. There were several revelations here: Castiel is being controlled by Naoimi and there is an Angel tablet which Crowley will try to find. Exciting stuff... even if we did kind of know that anyway. And though Crowley is always fun, I wasn't as overjoyed to see him here as I usually am. Maybe it's because the character stuff aside we've seen this type of episode millions of times before. And again, sigh, they neuter Castiel to stop him from dropping a bomb on the entire place. Seriously? Could I be shot for hoping Crowley had posted some Leviathans to guard Samandriel? He should know by now that Cas, Sam and Dean would show up eventually. Maybe the King doesn't trust the Levis anymore. To be honest, I don't blame him.
So, an average episode focusing on character with some revelations to set us up for the new year. It was okay, not terrible but not all that brilliant either. Still, I remain optimistic. Welcome back Supernatural

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But what about Benny? I am disappointed in Dean.

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Torn and flayed? It seems to represent some fans feelings about season 8 as a whole so far. And yet, like I've said before, I still think this season is an improvement on the last.
I can understand why this episode was not the final episode before Christmas. Not that much really happened. It was entirely focused on character. Sam's Amelia arc, Dean's still blind trusting of Benny, Castiel's efforts for redemption (and the knowledge that he's been controlled by the rather scary Naiomi). An episode that takes a step back to let the character's breath is always a good thing, and I commend them for it. However, was watching the characters actually any good?
Sam/Amelia once again was a little dull. They tried to turn up the suspense of Sam's choice, when we all knew what decision he would make in the end. Before even going into this episode, I knew exactly how it would end. Dean and Sam would somehow make up, and we'd be off into 4 or 5 filler episodes this side of March. So why bother with the fake suspense? I'm not entirely sure where the Amelia storyline can now go, unless they put her in mortal peril or something. Hey, if it's been wrapped up, at least we can draw a line under this and move on.
As far as Dean is concerned, I feel sorry for Benny. I know he's cut him off for Sam, but it's possibly the worst thing Dean could have done! He's banged on time and time again about how much Benny has done for him, yet abandons him when he needs him the most. He's fed on human blood! Dean knows what that means for a vampire. I suppose now we wait for the episode where we have to suffer Sam's "I was right" speech as Benny succumbs and becomes an issue they have to deal with. Not very nice, Dean. Again he chooses his brother and usually I'd be all for that, except in all honesty Sam's acted like a complete jerk as far as Dean's concerned, and if the writers were not so obsessed with keeping the brothers together so we can have a couple of weeks of filler, we could properly explore these issues. In short, the idea behind the Benny and Amelia storylines as wedges between the two could be good if done properly. They'd been doing a good job so far, but it looks like this episode has retconed it. Maybe it was the poor fan reaction to Amelia... I dunno.
Aside from that, we had the much welcomed return of Castiel. There were several revelations here: Castiel is being controlled by Naoimi and there is an Angel tablet which Crowley will try to find. Exciting stuff... even if we did kind of know that anyway. And though Crowley is always fun, I wasn't as overjoyed to see him here as I usually am. Maybe it's because the character stuff aside we've seen this type of episode millions of times before. And again, sigh, they neuter Castiel to stop him from dropping a bomb on the entire place. Seriously? Could I be shot for hoping Crowley had posted some Leviathans to guard Samandriel? He should know by now that Cas, Sam and Dean would show up eventually. Maybe the King doesn't trust the Levis anymore. To be honest, I don't blame him.
So, an average episode focusing on character with some revelations to set us up for the new year. It was okay, not terrible but not all that brilliant either. Still, I remain optimistic. Welcome back Supernatural

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Sean, your review is right on. Good job!

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Truly disappointed and I hope Jeremy Carver addresses the fact that codependency is not healthy if it makes you drop people that matter in your life. I'm also worried about Cas.

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R
January 17th, 2013 8:23 AM The angel's name was Samandriel, not Alfie. But the Vessel's name was Alfie and he worked at Weiner palace or something . Dean and Sam called him Alfie.

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I like the fact that Amelia is gone. I like Benny, so I am hoping that he will show up again in the future (Angel Tablet). I hate the direction of where Castiel is going with Naomi. Maybe they are trying to set up an ARC for season 9. At this point, I think that they may be cancelled soon. The writing is so all over the place. I feel so sorry for the great actors who have nothing great to work with. :(